The camaraderie and friendships that come with riding motorcycles are a big part of why we ride – maybe because it’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t ride why we enjoy it so much.
So it’s natural that we start looking for opportunities to ride with other people and in larger groups – but it’s important to know that riding in groups requires a different mindset and a few extra skillsets.
Your group ride could be with a few friends out for a day trip, or a motorbike rally, or a multi-day ride, covering thousands of kilometres and including overnight stops.
Of all those scenarios, the least predictable is the motorcycle rally – you probably won’t know a lot of the other riders, or what their riding style is like.
Like all rides, the goal is to enjoy yourself and come back home having stayed shiny side up for the whole trip. To maximise the chances of that happening, the key things to remember are;
- Know where you are in the riding order – are you the last rider, the first rider or somewhere in the middle? Work out what the riding style is of the person is in front and behind – if the rider in front is slower into the corners than you, back off and give them more space. If the rider behind you goes into the corners hotter – consider waving them in front of you at the next safe passing section. That way you don’t need to be worrying about another bike inches behind your back wheel, and you’ll both enjoy the ride more.
- Keep an eye on your mirrors – even more than usual. If you have unknown riders behind you, they may decide to pass you when you’re not expecting it, and maybe when it would be better not to pass. They might also pass a lot closer to you than you are comfortable with, so keep an eye on them and know when they are getting ready to pass.
- If you are passing other traffic – wait for the rider in front to merge back in before you start your run to overtake the vehicle being passed. It can be a nasty surprise if you think the other rider is going to leave you room to tuck in behind them and you suddenly find that they haven’t left you enough space.
- You hear this one a lot – ride your own ride. Don’t think that you have to go as fast as the person in front, or that you have to tuck in to every corner as aggressively as they have. Backing off your speed by a few kms/hr will make almost no difference to your arrival time, but you’ll enjoy the ride a lot more.
- Don’t relax and think that just because there’s a rider in front to follow that you can rely on them to spot hazards ahead – make sure you stay aware of what is happening 100 metres up the road and don’t get fixated on the bike a few metres ahead.
Following these simple rules will mean that you will get to your destination having enjoyed your ride and be ready to relax with the rest of the group.
If you’d like to know more about riding in groups, and learn from the experts – book a course with Ornsby Motorcycle Training. Group riding is a lot of fun, and you’ll make some great friendships.